Exhibition: How the printed word changed history forever

'The Reformation'
7 September 2017 - 4 March 2018

The John Rylands Library



A monk who shattered the strength of the Catholic Church, a monarch who wanted to take more than one wife, a society that put sin up for sale – and the power of the printed word to challenge it all. To mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, The John Rylands Library in Manchester will present The Reformation, an exhibition that will explore a series of events that changed the course of history forever.

In October 1517, German monk and scholar Martin Luther began questioning the Catholic Church, particularly for its sale of "indulgences", or sins that could be forgiven - for a price. Luther may have remained a little-known scholar but for the fact that his words took shape in printed form, reaching thinkers all over the world – including the radical scholar, William Tyndale and one of history's most notorious monarchs, King Henry VIII.

The Reformation invites visitors to journey through these tumultuous times and find out how Luther's work led to the splintering of the Catholic Church in England. Learn how Henry VIII's attempts to divorce led him to overthrow the Catholic Church and elect himself head of the Church of England and discover why William Tyndale's translation of the bible into English is still felt in the language we speak today.

Stuart Goulden

Lead Consultant